If you have been reading the newspaper, you may have heard that Peoria Public Library is undergoing a $28 million renovation and expansion project. Our Carnegie Library, Lincoln Branch, sits in Lincoln Park, the former site of Peoria’s “Public Graveyard” or “City Cemetery.” This cemetery was in operation from 1842 until 1875. The city ordered it vacated under a state law that allowed cities to move cemeteries away from the city wells. Removals actually began in 1857 when Springdale Cemetery opened and continued until 1902. Two graves were injuncted and the courts ruled that those burials were never to be disturbed.
In addition, on June 8, Midwest Archaeological Services will begin an exploration of the cemetery under state law and with a state permit. They will be looking for any remains that may have been left behind when the cemetery was vacated but only under the footprint of the addition. We have an enormous problem in that no one has been able to find any cemetery records listing how many plots were sold or who may have been buried there. I do not know if it is possible to ask for help in that if anyone knows of an ancestor who was buried there, they share that information with us. It would be even more helpful if they knew which plot they were buried in.
We also are looking for volunteers who may want to donate time to go through early Peoria papers on microfilm to look for mentions of people being buried in City Cemetery.
You can find more information on our website at www.peoriapubliclibrary.org.
Supervisor of Public Relations Peoria Public Library 107 N.E. Monroe Peoria, IL 61602 office: 309.497.2141 cell: 309.258.9898